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PESHAWAR: Popular Pashto singer Haroon Bacha captivated participants at a musical concert here on Monday night in an open air stage in University Town, Peshawar.

The Peshawarites after a long time enjoyed live music show. Rising star Bakhtiar Khattak was the anchor of the programme, organised by a private TV channel here on Tuesday.

Haroon Bacha received a standing ovation from the tasteful audience by singing popular numbers sprinkled with romance, nostalgia and loss of culture.

Zafar Khan, a university student, said that he enjoyed the show because live singing was a fast fading art nowadays. The CD singers were restricted only to lip sing, he said, adding he liked traditional Pashto music because of its natural flavour.

“Live signing is difficult but it goes straight into one’s heart. We must keep culture of live music alive because it is our inherent cultural identity,” said Kamal Khan, another participant.

Music and poetry both were effective tools for conveying messages to people and Bacha carried both successfully to his community, said Raziq Khan. “It has great positive social impact on the masses. I think such cultural shows should be arranged frequently by private TV channels instead of boring talk shows,” he added.

Mr Bacha, who hails from religiously inclined Swabi Punjpir village, qualified graduation from the historic Edwardes College Peshawar in 1992 and masters in Social Work from University of Peshawar in 1994.

He shot to fame when his maiden album ‘Da rungoono makham’ in 1996 came out on market hitting all Pashto music charts.

Mr Bacha said that his new Pashto album Heelay (Hopes) would come out in a month. He hoped that traditional Pashto music would continue to inspire listeners.

“Heela is in fact the name of my daughter born just two months before. I named my upcoming Pashto album after her name. I am hopeful it will prove a big shot,” Mr Bacha said.

He said that he believed traditional music had a bright future. “Artists need security and appreciation and demand nothing else,” he said. Large number of music fans attended the open air live Haroon Bacha show.

Mr Bacha settled in the US following threats from militants in 2008 and finally joined a Pashto radio as an expert on cultural programmes. He has more than a dozen Pashto albums to his credit, most of them being super hit.

Shafguta Malik, a former parliamentarian of Awami National Party, in her comments said that Pashto music suffered a setback when extremists threatened Haroon Bacha and forced him to run for his life. She added that the incumbent provincial government should take steps to keep alive cultural activities and safeguard lives of artists.

“We should not lose singers like Haroon Bacha. I hope he does not sever his relations with the art of singing even abroad. He is not only adding but also contributing quality stuff to Pashto music. It is unfortunate that we have our music maestros like Nashanas, Sardar Ali Takkar, Qamar Gula, Ustad Shah Wali and Haroon Bacha scattered around the globe due to hostile environment back home. I am a diehard fan of Bacha because of his sweet baritone voice,” Ms Malik said.

Ali Akbar Sial, a poet, said that Haroon Bacha introduced a new style of singing Pashto tapa which was copied even by Indian movie directors. He said that Pashto folk music went a step forward when Bacha discovered a new version of singing Pashto tapa and ghazal with fusion of traditional and electronic musical instruments.

“His selection of poetry is superb. His style of shining is unique,” Mr Sial said.